Jul 24, 2014; Hollywood, CA, USA; UCLA Bruins head coach Jim Mora talks to the media during the Pac-12 Media Day at the Studios at Paramount. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

PAC-12 Media Day: Jim Mora Believes His Team is Moving in The Right Direction

In Paramount Pictures Studios, somewhere in the blazing heat, lies a sanctified room with more air conditioning that the heart can desire. Somewhere in that bubble was UCLA’s head football coach Jim Mora, addressing the media. With his opening statement, Mora made it clear that the Bruins have challenges ahead, but they are ready to take them on.

I think it’s going to be a very challenging season for us. We’ve got a difficult schedule, an exciting schedule. A very challenging schedule that we’re going to embrace fully.

And no matter what the scenario, when asked about why and how he believed the Bruins would handle and embrace this all, Coach Mora brought it back to maturity.

Be it on Brett Hundley,

He’s mature. He’s played two years. He’s been in the national spotlight a little more. I think he’s prepared himself in this off-season a little better bit more. I think it’s not just sitting down talking Xs and Os. But how do you balance your life?

or maybe on team growth…

We all make mistakes. When you’re dealing with 120, 17 to 22-year-olds, things are going to pop up on occasion, but they’re getting it. They’re getting it. I think it’s a credit to them, their families and our assistant coaches.

Try staying focused through the hype…

It hasn’t been that hard to do because of the group of young men that we have. Their goals, I think, are aligned with mine. Their mindset is like mine, which every day has got to be a great day.

Media attention?

It’s one of the reasons I feel comfortable with us doing The Drive on the Pac-12 Network, is I think we’re mature enough now to handle any so-called distractions.

So there you have it folks. It all comes down to growth and maturity for Jim Mora and his squad this season, but it is also about integrity and reality. Mora wants players to “do you”. In other words, he wants them to be themselves — not trying to take on a role they don’t fit. We asked him what he thought about replacing a guy like Jordon Zumwalt, as far as emotional leading goes, and he made his point clear.

I don’t know if you need to replace Jordan. Every year your team takes on different personality. I certainly don’t want anyone to step out of character. I think what’s important is you are genuine. So if somebody assumes that role and they’re that type of personality, good. But if no one does, that’s okay. That’s okay. You don’t want a phony, contrived environment. It has to be genuine.

With loaded talent and a righteous mindset, Brett Hundley, Jim Mora, Eric Kendricks, and UCLA are looking to captialize on what could be their best season in recent history.

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